Uruguay: Useful Notes for Cruisers on Formalities

These useful notes have been compiled by a cruiser who visited the country at the end of 2017.

Published 6 years ago

Prefectura Naval / Armada

Armada is open 24/7, pay them a visit when you enter as soon as possible. Receipt from the Hydrographic is required to obtain exit clearance outside of Uruguay or to the next Uruguayan port. As for the coast, the Armada forbids anchoring so you have to go through ports no matter what. All ports belong to the state (See the comment below).

You must call Control Maritimo when departing a port.  Also 1 hour before entering a port, and while entering a port. If, while at sea, you want to change your destination, you must update the Prefectura over the radio. Prefecture monitors Ch16. The Armada maintains a good lookout and radar coverage of its waters and beyond. Armada speaks Spanish and English over the radio.

Latest weather forecast can be requested on Ch16.


There is 9 months free import if the boat is in transit. Beyond that, a US$600 fee has to be paid. The boat then becomes a resident and can be subjected to safety inspections. It is simpler to remain in transit, less paperwork.


The Port Authority is part of the Ministry of Transportation and Public Works (MTOP). They maintain the ports, toilets, showers, etc. They collect the fees for port use. See this website for Tariffs charged for all ports in Uruguay.

The MTOP prints a guide of the Uruguayan ports (good information) called “Keep Yachting, Guia Nautica, Puerto del Uruguay”. It is in Spanish only. Do not use it for navigation.


Not present in every port. It does not seem to be a problem. The Armada will provide a “laissez-passer” if required.


The bus services offer a gateway to the country itself and beyond. The bus network is quite affordable, good, on time, clean and most buses offer WiFi. In high season it is cheaper to leave the boat in one of the cheaper ports and visit by bus.


Uruguay is a safe place to leave your boat while exploring inland. Since Argentina changed its inspection regulations concerning foreign-flagged vessels, it can be considered a safe place to leave your boat while visiting Argentina by land.

Berthing can be quite expensive during the high season (southern summer), to insanely expensive (Punta del Este or Piriapolis) to fair (La Paloma or Montevideo). I found it was cheaper and simpler to leave the boat in La Paloma and explore the country by bus.

Thibault da Cruz

S/V Moya

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